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Poachers are illegal hunters who do not follow laws, rules and regulations. This method of hunting is called Poaching. What poaching means is that even though an animal is protected and laws have been passed to make hunting and killing that animal illegal, the animal is still hunted and killed. This is especially a problem in Africa, where many of its animals, such aselephants and tigers, are killed in the wildlife parks where hunting is banned. These animals are protected because they are endangered.

Poaching usually leads to the selling of the animal killed.  Whether it be its skin, bones, body parts, poachers will sell whatever is that of value. This underground sale of these protected animals has proliferated in places like China where folk medicine uses these animal parts as part of exotic cures for various ailments. Poaching, many times, is viewed as not being a very serious crime and where it is, it is extremely hard to enforce. Due to the widespread poverty in Africa where most poaching occurs, corruption is rife and enforcement is lax.  Poaching is very difficult to stop, and track, if poachers know what
they are doing and organize, as they often do.

The most well-known animal poached is the elephant. The elephants’ tusks are made of ivory and ivory is valued highly. However to get the ivory, the elephant must be killed. Hundreds of Elephants from Zimbabwe, for example, are killed each year for this reason and the situation is currently still out of control. Poaching, however, is not only a problem in Africa. Hunting out of season is also a huge problem in the United States and hunting out of season is poaching. The reason that there is a hunting season is to protect animal populations and breeding cycles. The reasons that people hunt out of season range from ignorance to sheer arrogance. Many people who hunt out of season are trophy hunters and find that hunting out of season eliminates the competition of other hunters and allows them to kill the largest of animals.

Poaching also involves capturing wild animals and not killing them, but rather selling them. For example, some people capture reptiles or birds in South America so that they can eventually be sold in pet stores
around the world. Others capture large game animals for sale to ranches that hold canned hunting. Sadly, it is very hard to stop poachers. People’s selfishness and
lack of respect for law make wildlife preservation a serious challenge. Many organizations, including the United Nations, try to track and stop poachers, but much poaching is done in an organized fashion and is hard to track.

Poachers must always be reported to law enforcement officials. Always take precautions and follow these steps:

  1. Observe from a distance.
  2. Do not try to confront or apprehend suspects.
  3. Record a detailed description of people, vehicles and activities.
  4. Report the incident to your Wildlife agency, local or state police.
  5. Every state now has an anti-poaching program.
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